Director: Ranjith Jeyakodi
Cast: Harish Kalyan, Shilpa Manjunath
What directors like Ranjith Jeyakodi, who continue to define their heroes with rage and an intolerable streak of violence, don’t quite understand is that such characterisations are extremely repulsive. Repulsive to those who the filmmakers
obtusely earnestly believe will appeal to – in this case, women. In Ispade Rajavum Idhaya Raniyum, Jeyakodi sketches and gives life to an abhorrent male fantasy, evidently written by someone with a misplaced sense of masculinity. A perpetually angry male lead who is not subject to any civil code of land, never mind social conscience, is glorified and made much of. He kicks, screams, beats up people, and is quite misunderstood because, cue in tragic past. When the film opens, Harish Kalyan as Gautham does a little show and tell with a woman (Shilpa Manjunath as Tara) at a party. He indulges in something indefinably creepy and she calls him out for what it is. Gautham, then all injured innocence, declares that he will show her what all creeps do.
A few frames later, though not unlike other filmmakers of his ilk, Jeyakodi has Tara fall for this creation of his.
Harish Kalyan, who had a surprisingly real and comparatively tame character arc in Pyaar Prema Kaadhal, is unrecognisable in IRIR. Nothing quite describes him other than the insufferable and exaggerated anger that runs through him; we don’t really know what he does for a living. For the better part of the film, he arrives at a scene of trouble or crime to play saviour to Tara. Jeyakodi is almost unironical in this portrayal, and has the film propagate every undesirable trait in men. Incredulously, it even has an instance that questions the definition of stalking, stops short of laughing at it while giving free rein to the audience to do so. The men in theatre, who seem to want no further prodding, happily oblige. It’s a deeply troubling moment, more so when Tara is propped up as a balm for the troubled soul that Gautham is.
Jeyakodi had earlier described Ispade Rajavum Idhaya Raniyum, as “a violent love story” in an interview, but that is perhaps an understatement, and even a misnomer for a film that openly celebrates its aggressive and oppressive male lead. There is no love, just some dangerous obsession made easy.
The Ispade Rajavum Idhaya Raniyum review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.